CAMDEN--Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative was last in the field of 10 entries going into the final fences during the 43rd running of the 2 3/4-mile Marion duPont Scott Grade 1 Colonial Cup at Springdale Race Course, and logic would suggest the 5-year-old son of Elusive Quality conditioned by Richard Valentine would not be in a position to win.
However, jockey Matt McCarron made a dramatic move, going to the extreme outside, 12 wide of the field, closing while uncoiling a powerful turn of foot, to give the bay gelding his 3rd stakes victory of 2012. Demonstrative had won the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes and the Grade 1 New York Turf Writers Cup Steeplechase Handicap at Saratoga this summer with jockey Robbie Walsh in the irons. The bay gelding was the National Steeplechase Association’s champion 3-year-old of 2010.
“I just thought he was getting outrun every step of the way, but when he came by the stands the first time, he really looked keen, and then when he turned on the back, I thought he would move up, but he didn’t,” said Valentine. “The way that he finished was incredible. It was such a dramatic move. He was so wide, and I couldn’t gauge if he was gaining. He was so detached from the pack on the side.”
Demonstrative was coming off a 4th place effort in the Grade 1 Grand National at the Far Hills Race Meeting on Oct. 20.
“I think he ran the same race at Far Hills,” said Valentine. “He’s more effective on firm turf. I think maybe the pace scenario helped him here a little bit. He just doesn’t seem to like the soft ground. Matt wasn’t tough when he knew he was beat there (Far Hills).”
McCarron’s trip on Demonstrative wasn’t exactly what the jockey had envisioned.
Demonstrative was keener and more forwardly placed earlier in the race than the jockey had anticipated.
“His jumping was spectacular,” said McCarron. “So, we go around the turn, on our way to the outer loop. He finally starts to relax, which was great and I was thrilled with that, but as soon as we turned down the back, everybody kept on. So, now I go from being relaxed and where I want to be, to last. After being so keen early, I didn’t want to go with the rest of the field.”
However, McCarron was confident, and knows that Valentine’s horses are fit and prepared on race day, although the veteran rider was concerned because of the quality of the horses composing the field in the race.
“I had put him in what I had considered to be an ok spot, but now was faced with having too much to do,” said McCarron. “He’s just an amazing horse. It’s like sitting in a Porsche and hitting sixth gear.”
The bold move by McCarron and Demonstrative where the rider/horse combination swung to the outside and went wide paid dividends. The jockey had found himself behind a wall of horses turning for home, before making the race’s defining decision.
“I had nowhere to go,” said McCarron. “In the end, it worked out.”
The connections of Demonstrative had enjoyed previous success in Camden during the gelding’s 3-year-old campaign, as they captured the Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial.
“I can’t thank Richard enough for letting me ride him again, after riding him as a 3-year-old,” said McCarron.